Pirates Are Way More Interesting Than Elves

 Pages PREV 1 2 3
 

RatGouf:
The only thing I get out of the Title is "Occupation Is Better Than Race".

I do think that in general, this is correct. With very few exceptions (middle-earth, bas-lag, and... um...) fantasy settings don't do anything interesting with non-human sapients - they seem to mostly be in the setting because they were in Tolkien's setting.

King of Dragon Pass had quite original plant-like elves, and their favourite sport was to kill humans:

http://lparchive.org/King-of-Dragon-Pass/Update%20431/10-FedarkosIsNotDead012.png

http://i913.photobucket.com/albums/ac331/TraxMax/15-6.jpg

Bostur:
At the very least the hero should ask the question, "Why me?".

...and this is why I do not accept Bioshock as an exception.
The nameless "hero" (who is also me?) has a hidden agenda, or may possibly just be schizophrenic?

Uber-linear Bioshock had many spots where you couldn't continue until you did something. I didn't want to inject myself with the Electro-Volt plasmid. I was warm and dry, there weren't any people left in the area who were trying to kill me, and there were snacks to... ooops... OK there were snacks to eat. But there's a comfortable chair right over there. I'm gonna go have a lil nap after the big long swim I just had. But what do I get? I really did it because I had to?

Bullshit. It was no different than that stupid part in F.E.A.R. where the game can't proceed until you've killed Paxton Fettel. That happened why? Because the player is supposed to be a police officer? It doesn't fit the alleged motivation.

Now I truly did like Bioshock (go ahead and see my post #1 if you don't believe me), but there are OTHER ways to tell a story besides saying that the butler did it - AND you're really the butler, who is suffering from a bout of amnesia. Give me a section (or three of four) early on, where I can only watch my own actions while I do something that I don't want to do. At least try to presage the big stupid reveal. Don't flash pictures in front of my face without context, I'll just wonder if my fillings are picking up the local kinetiscope channels. I can accept that the Sploicers are victims of pheromones in the air, or even something in the plasmids - until I breathe the same air and use the same plasmids. No. seriously, I'll go along with it until you give me too much time to think about it.

If Bioshock were a novel, I would burn it. If Bioshock were my novel, I would put it in a dark place until I could figure out how to re-write it so that it made sense.

Everyone can take lessons from Valve. Before GF even saw a Civil Protection thug, HL2's verbal and visual storytelling made me want to kill every single last one of them. And their little dogs too. For Twing-Twang! Now that's motivation.

Therumancer:

Father Time:

Therumancer:
Pirates only seem fresh because they haven't been used as much as elves recently. As a stereotype the whole pirate thing falls apart a lot faster than your average fantasy game.

How?

I mean I know real pirates didn't act like movie pirates but they do show some similarities. Mainly being motivated by greed and robbing ships and being old salts.

Therumancer:

Not to mention that there have been a lot of pirate/seafaring games out there over the years, but most hadn't caught on due to problems with implenetation.

Monkey Island, Sid Meier, Risen, Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat (and obscure PS2 game that was actually quite fun), Pirates of the Carribean Movie tie-in games (including the Lego ones), and I literally can't name anything else. So that's like 5 or 6 franchises based on pirates (2 of them haven't had a new game in long time) vs. how many generic fantasy games?

I wasn't saying there was as many of them, just that they had a solid prescence, we see one every couple of years. Granted we don't see them heavily promoted. Pirates Of Black Cove, Puzzle Pirates, Age Of Pirates 1 and 2, and of course various hidden object games and such. It's not a major genere like general fantasy is, but it's still one with a reasonable niche prescence.

The problem with the entire pirate genere is that there are only so many things that pirates do, you sail around, sink and loot ships, and maybe look for treasure.

You also loot on land, and if you're a privateer you also fight in military struggles.

Therumancer:

Then there is the whole historical aspect of things. See, when people use the term "pirate" they tend to think in terms of a seafaring adventurer and free spirit, rarely do you see pirates in games or movies do anything paticularly bad, even if it's implied behind the scenes. In the final equasion pirates were not romantic figures like most people think of, because they were ultimatly a group of raping, murdering, scum. The nature of modern morality means that pretty much any pirate you see as a hero has to be an exception, or have such things remain in the past and be glossed over, which kind of limits the entire thing, as well as prevents a certain examination.

Games that let you play a bad guy are not new and some are quite popular. I'd love to play a raping pillaging plundering pirate, or one where I'm somehow the good guy despite being a thief.

I remember Disney had a cancelled pirates game where they just ran with the whole 'evil by default' thing and instead of a good and evil morality bar they had respected vs. feared.

Therumancer:

In your typical pirate game/story you want the person watching to be cheering for the pirates, and hoping they get away from/defeat national navies and such. If piracy was ever properly portrayed and deconstructed, it doesn't matter how much of a bastard you typical crown officer is portrayed as, that's who your going to be cheering for.

Not always. See Kratos, GTA, Hannibal Lecter, etc. I think having an interesting protgaonist is good enough.

Thanks for the reply though.

Father Time:

Therumancer:

Father Time:

How?

I mean I know real pirates didn't act like movie pirates but they do show some similarities. Mainly being motivated by greed and robbing ships and being old salts.

Monkey Island, Sid Meier, Risen, Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat (and obscure PS2 game that was actually quite fun), Pirates of the Carribean Movie tie-in games (including the Lego ones), and I literally can't name anything else. So that's like 5 or 6 franchises based on pirates (2 of them haven't had a new game in long time) vs. how many generic fantasy games?

I wasn't saying there was as many of them, just that they had a solid prescence, we see one every couple of years. Granted we don't see them heavily promoted. Pirates Of Black Cove, Puzzle Pirates, Age Of Pirates 1 and 2, and of course various hidden object games and such. It's not a major genere like general fantasy is, but it's still one with a reasonable niche prescence.

The problem with the entire pirate genere is that there are only so many things that pirates do, you sail around, sink and loot ships, and maybe look for treasure.

You also loot on land, and if you're a privateer you also fight in military struggles.

Therumancer:

Then there is the whole historical aspect of things. See, when people use the term "pirate" they tend to think in terms of a seafaring adventurer and free spirit, rarely do you see pirates in games or movies do anything paticularly bad, even if it's implied behind the scenes. In the final equasion pirates were not romantic figures like most people think of, because they were ultimatly a group of raping, murdering, scum. The nature of modern morality means that pretty much any pirate you see as a hero has to be an exception, or have such things remain in the past and be glossed over, which kind of limits the entire thing, as well as prevents a certain examination.

Games that let you play a bad guy are not new and some are quite popular. I'd love to play a raping pillaging plundering pirate, or one where I'm somehow the good guy despite being a thief.

I remember Disney had a cancelled pirates game where they just ran with the whole 'evil by default' thing and instead of a good and evil morality bar they had respected vs. feared.

Therumancer:

In your typical pirate game/story you want the person watching to be cheering for the pirates, and hoping they get away from/defeat national navies and such. If piracy was ever properly portrayed and deconstructed, it doesn't matter how much of a bastard you typical crown officer is portrayed as, that's who your going to be cheering for.

Not always. See Kratos, GTA, Hannibal Lecter, etc. I think having an interesting protgaonist is good enough.

Thanks for the reply though.

Err, well perhaps I conveyed that badly. The point isn't so much that you can't have a game about bad guys, and have it work, but that the general fan base for pirates isn't there for a realistic version. Pirates are one of those things where it's been sanitized to the point where it's something parents expect, or encourage their kids to play aroiund with or act out as, and even adults tend to see it more as "swashbuckling adventure" rather than "spree killers with a boat". As a result just about everything to do with pirates has very little to do with what makes them pirates.

Your point about making the pirate into a good guy or anti-hero is kind of valid, and that's how most creators do it, by pretty much glossing over, or making the protagsnist(s) an exception to everything. My point was more or less about breaking that mould, especially seeing as it's pretty limiting and has become PART of what has held it back since the need for acceptance given what pirates have become limits the options. After all if some guy buys a pirate game, expecting a fairly sanitized "Pirates Of The Caribean" experience, and instead gets the equivilent of a Hannibal Lector & Pals depravity simulator with the addition of a boat, that's not going to go over well.

I think that for things to work we need to see people weaned off the typical portrayal of pirate anti-heroes, and I think that has to start with Hollywood actually.

Of course opinions are going to vary, we will probably have to agree to disagree.

Therumancer:

Father Time:

Therumancer:

I wasn't saying there was as many of them, just that they had a solid prescence, we see one every couple of years. Granted we don't see them heavily promoted. Pirates Of Black Cove, Puzzle Pirates, Age Of Pirates 1 and 2, and of course various hidden object games and such. It's not a major genere like general fantasy is, but it's still one with a reasonable niche prescence.

The problem with the entire pirate genere is that there are only so many things that pirates do, you sail around, sink and loot ships, and maybe look for treasure.

You also loot on land, and if you're a privateer you also fight in military struggles.

Therumancer:

Then there is the whole historical aspect of things. See, when people use the term "pirate" they tend to think in terms of a seafaring adventurer and free spirit, rarely do you see pirates in games or movies do anything paticularly bad, even if it's implied behind the scenes. In the final equasion pirates were not romantic figures like most people think of, because they were ultimatly a group of raping, murdering, scum. The nature of modern morality means that pretty much any pirate you see as a hero has to be an exception, or have such things remain in the past and be glossed over, which kind of limits the entire thing, as well as prevents a certain examination.

Games that let you play a bad guy are not new and some are quite popular. I'd love to play a raping pillaging plundering pirate, or one where I'm somehow the good guy despite being a thief.

I remember Disney had a cancelled pirates game where they just ran with the whole 'evil by default' thing and instead of a good and evil morality bar they had respected vs. feared.

Therumancer:

In your typical pirate game/story you want the person watching to be cheering for the pirates, and hoping they get away from/defeat national navies and such. If piracy was ever properly portrayed and deconstructed, it doesn't matter how much of a bastard you typical crown officer is portrayed as, that's who your going to be cheering for.

Not always. See Kratos, GTA, Hannibal Lecter, etc. I think having an interesting protgaonist is good enough.

Thanks for the reply though.

Err, well perhaps I conveyed that badly. The point isn't so much that you can't have a game about bad guys, and have it work, but that the general fan base for pirates isn't there for a realistic version. Pirates are one of those things where it's been sanitized to the point where it's something parents expect, or encourage their kids to play aroiund with or act out as, and even adults tend to see it more as "swashbuckling adventure" rather than "spree killers with a boat". As a result just about everything to do with pirates has very little to do with what makes them pirates.

Your point about making the pirate into a good guy or anti-hero is kind of valid, and that's how most creators do it, by pretty much glossing over, or making the protagsnist(s) an exception to everything. My point was more or less about breaking that mould, especially seeing as it's pretty limiting and has become PART of what has held it back since the need for acceptance given what pirates have become limits the options. After all if some guy buys a pirate game, expecting a fairly sanitized "Pirates Of The Caribean" experience, and instead gets the equivilent of a Hannibal Lector & Pals depravity simulator with the addition of a boat, that's not going to go over well.

I think that for things to work we need to see people weaned off the typical portrayal of pirate anti-heroes, and I think that has to start with Hollywood actually.

Of course opinions are going to vary, we will probably have to agree to disagree.

It sounds like you're tired of writing walls of text (can't say I blame you).

You make a persuasive argument actually. It would be hard to make a game where you play an evil pirate without people associating it with swashbuckling adventure. I can't think of a sure fire way to do it, but I'm not in marketing so *shrug*.

I have a clue about what I'd like my heroes to say when asked about their motivations:

King: "So why ARE you saving the world anyways?"
Hero: *shrugs* "I got bored, and late one night I couldn't sleep so I decided 'hey, you know what would be fun? Disrupting a thieves guild', and from there, it kinda snowballed into some grand plot to save the world from demons. But you know what? BEST ADVENTURE EVER!"
King: *stunned* "Wow, charming."

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
The very fact that elves have become a cliche serves only to show how creatively bankrupt the fantasy genre has become, especially in gaming.

The whole idea of 'fantasy' is to create something new and intriguing that sparks the imagination. The clue's in the title, after all. When Tolkien created Middle Earth, he combined a variety of different mythological sources with stuff of his own invention, and gave us all something we'd never seen before. A completely unique mythological world, with its own creatures, people and history. The elves of Middle Earth weren't just simple stuck-up snobs, they were deliberately portrayed as aloof because their immense lifespans (and thus their very perception of time), manic-depressive emotions and ability to see things waaay beyond the mortal realm kind of hamper their ability to mingle with everyday folk. Add to that the fact that Tolkien made his elves human-sized and totally bangable, and you get a drastic reinterpretation of a mythological idea that's been around for hundreds of years.

This is the sort of thing missing in fantasy now, and it's why we have this stagnation of the genre that Yahtzee alludes to. Instead of following Professor T's example and going to great efforts to build new worlds with new sights, new races, new takes on mythological ideas, etc, game developers are happy enough just aping his work, and changing a few of the particulars. Even something like The Elder Scrolls boils down to being a more metropolitan Middle Earth, complete with elves, orcs and dragons.

There are great fantasy writers out there. Writers like China Mieville and Clive Barker are able to come up with whole new universes that have next to nothing to do with Middle Earth, and the views they offer are so much more spectacular and memorable because of it. We need western developers to step up and realise that fantasy doesn't begin and end with Lord Of The Rings, and that fans of the genre are craving something different and unique, not yet another take on a well-worn formula. Japanese developers seem to understand this pretty well. You don't have to like the gameplay of JRPGs, but typically Japanese developers are pretty good at creating unique fantasy worlds that don't rehash the same old Tolkien archtypes.

Yeah!! Like Rainblood.

You forgot "For Large Sums of Money". Because all men lust for bling bling.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here